So you’re ready to try out surfing in Tenerife? Or should you just head to Fuerteventura one more time?
Don’t worry, I’m here to help you decide!
Here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Tenerife…
About The Canary Islands
Ah the Canary Islands… Europe’s Hawaii!
The Canaries get huge numbers of tourists from all around Europe. With year-round good weather, good waves, and cheap flights, a crowded lineup shouldn’t surprise you.
However, when it comes to surfing in the Canaries, most people choose Fuerteventura. So what about the other islands? Is Tenerife a potential hidden gem?
Let’s take a look…
Tenerife Surf Trips – An Overview
Tenerife is the biggest of the Canary Islands.
At around 85 km (53 miles) long, it even boasts a large, occasionally snow-covered volcano, Mt. Teide. Thanks to this elevation, the weather in the north and south can be extremely different.
Does Tenerife Have Good Surfing?
Yes. Tenerife is renowned for its excellent surfing conditions, making it a popular destination among surfers. Tenerife benefits from consistent waves throughout the year and offers surf spots for all skill levels.
The northern coast, particularly around Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is known for its outstanding surf breaks (like Playa de Las Teresitas, Playa de Almáciga, and Playa de El Socorro). The western coast, near Los Gigantes, is home to Playa de los Guios, which attracts advanced surfers due to its powerful waves.
When To Go Surfing In Tenerife
We’ve established that Tenerife has some great surf spots, but when is the best time of year to go surfing in Tenerife?
Tenerife has great weather and waves all year round! However, the best time of year for surfing is probably winter. The water stays nice and a 3/2mm wetsuit should always be enough.
What’s The Best Month To Surf In Tenerife?
The best month to surf in Tenerife depends on your preference and skill level. Winter months (November to February) offer larger, more consistent waves. Summer months (June to August) provide smaller swells, suitable for beginners and those seeking a more relaxed surfing experience.
Let’s take a closer look at summer vs winter surf trips.
Don’t want to wear a wetsuit?
You can easily surf in a shorty or board-shorts/bikini from around March till November.
There are almost always waves for surfing in Tenerife. But they get much smaller during summertime. And you often rely on wind swells.
These wind swells, and sometimes good south swells can be super fun. Mainly on the south coast.
But most of the good surf spots prefer proper swells from the north. These usually start around September, and are plentiful for the next 6 months.
Be warned. If you do decide to go in summer or early autumn, your chances of unfavorable winds are pretty high! Especially on the north coast. But there will be far fewer people than let’s say – Christmas.
When I was there in September, the swells were small and the wind was strong! In other words, it could have been much better! But we still found some fun waves every day. And who knows, maybe smaller waves but fewer people sound good to you anyways?
When I was there last December, the waves were flawless every single day! And as there was always enough swell, we only surfed the waves in the south. But as this is still ocean surfing, you never know what you’re gonna get!
Personally, I choose winter trips every chance I can get. But if you’re relatively new or are perhaps bringing the family, summer is a good option.
Where To Go?
There are so many great places to stay in Tenerife on surf trips. Let’s take a look at the best options.
Surfing The South of Tenerife
Playa de Las Americas and Costa Adeje are the areas with the biggest hotel complexes and all-inclusive tourism.
They’re very close to the “Aeroporte de Tenerife Sur” and offer surprisingly good waves. If you’re looking to get away from the bad winter weather and want to meet some people, try plenty of restaurants, hit some bars and nightclubs, this is the place for you!
You will find a couple of good surf shops with a huge selection of great surfboards (to rent or to buy). The same goes for surf schools and surf camps.
Just in front of all the hotels and restaurants is a long reef with various places to surf.
There is a nice walkway next to the beach, and you can easily stroll along and check one wave after the other. Some are beginner-friendly, and therefore packed with schools and learners. Others are more difficult, or with the right swell even heavy, world-class barreling waves!
But be careful, some of the locals here are very protective of their waves and are not too happy if you take what they see as their own! But more about that later.
Best Surf Spots in Playa de Las Americas
If we start from the south, there is a beach for swimmers and sunbathers called: Playa del Camison.
It usually has very calm water. But just to the west of it, behind the breakwater, is a stretch of reef with various good peaks. Lefts and rights. It needs the right swell, and the waves are usually relatively short, but super good. (Nr. 1)
If you keep walking to the west, you’ll see various options to surf (Nr. 2). It can be a bit tricky to get in and out of the water here, as the reef is relatively sharp. But it has usually very few people here. You can also paddle there from Nr.1 or Nr.3.
The next wave, “El Dedo” is more popular (Nr. 3). You’ll find it in front of the rusty piece of art. This wave is super fun and often less crowded than others. I don’t know why?
On the other side of the pool right on the beach (you’ll see it), and within paddling distance, is first a left and then a right (Nr. 4). When they get good, the right can be world-class! But I don’t think the locals will be willing to share them with you when it’s on!
As you keep walking, you’re passing a McDonald’s, you’ll soon reach the most crowded surf spot here (Nr. 5). This is where all the beginners surf. It’s not a sandy bottom beach, but rather a flat lava plate. Use reef booties (every surf school/ camp has them) and you should be fine.
Once a while a real swell hits the northern end of this lava shelf, producing the famous left-hander: “Izquierda del Cartel” (Nr. 6). Another incredible wave, complete with protective locals.
This stretch is really incredible! So many places to surf, right next to sunburned people eating Big Macs on the beach!
Is this is a nice place to visit? Well, it’s up to you to decide. But it’s certainly an easy winter getaway option with mostly good weather and everything you need aside from waves.
There are various other places with waves in the south. Las Americas is just the easiest (but not necessarily most beautiful) place to stay and surf.
Rent a car, go explore. You’ll find other waves not too far away.
Surfing The North Of Tenerife
There is an airport in the north too. But thanks to the highway, it doesn’t take long to get from one airport to the other. So I would choose my flight depending on the schedule, rather than on what airport I would arrive at.
Most non-surfing tourists who go to the north of Tenerife stay somewhere close to Puerto de la Cruz.
This is actually a surprisingly nice city with a couple of great waves around too. Not too far to the west of it is “El Socorro”. Probably the best-known beach here for surfing.
It rarely gets really good, but it’s super consistent. And if no other wave is breaking in the north, you’ll probably still find something surfable here.
But there are many waves along the whole north coast. You’ll find most of them in the surf guides and sites like magicseaweed.com.
If you want to surf in the north, you will most probably end up somewhere around Punta del Hidalgo/Bajamar (title picture).
This area is impressive when it comes to the number of surf spots too. Thanks to this, there are a few surf shops, surf camps and many nice apartments for rent (Airbnb).
In my experience, the locals are a bit more relaxed here than around Las Americas, but you still have to take it easy in the water.
I won’t talk much about the waves here – you will see most of them from the street and can easily figure out how to get there. I only surfed this area with small to medium swells and it was super fun and mellow. Some of the waves feel like they could hold some decent size and only get better with it.
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If surfing Tenerife is all you want, this part of the island is great. But the weather is often not as good/ warm as in the south.
If you stay here a few days, you really have to make a trip to Taganana. It’s a very long, but scenic drive through the mountains and forest, and you’ll find some empty beaches with fun waves.
What Else Is There To Do In Tenerife?
If you’re planning some surfing in Tenerife, make sure to rent a car!
Sure, you can do without one in Las Americas or in a surfcamp. But you should rent one, even if only for a few days.
The drive through the middle of the island and up to Mount Teide is quite an experience! Hiking here is pretty great too.
There are so many natural pools along the north coast. And having a dip here and there, while exploring the little towns is perfect for a layday, or to relax your body in the afternoon.
In case you’re a fan of more touristy things, there are plenty of options for ocean activities such as snorkeling/ diving, jet-ski, etc.
There is an amusement park and a huge Zoo (with a really bad reputation!) and of course countless great restaurants.
In the north, you have to try a Pinchinche (found only in the north of Tenerife). There’s also great seafood everywhere, and in the touristy areas everything from Indian to Italian or Thai food.
And of course, there are plenty of pubs and bars with live music every night. Thank the English tourists who have come here for decades!!
The Locals in Tenerife
The local surfers in the Canary Islands have a reputation for being some of the most aggressive in the world. But is there any truth to these vicious rumours?
On dry land… The Canarios are really friendly people. But when it comes to surfing in Tenerife… it’s unfortunately a different story.
The locals are fiercely protective of their waves and beaches. I’ve even heard stories from surfers who grew up in the North of Tenerife, who have a hard time when they surf in the South!
Speaking from personal experience… I witnessed some sort of aggression almost every time I was in the water in Las Americas.
The locals often pick fights with visiting surfers, even sometimes when they’ve clearly done nothing wrong. And I even had sessions when some of the locals tried really hard to make sure I didn’t get any waves! And when I did, they dropped in on me!
How To Handle Localism In Tenerife
Here are a few pointers for avoiding conflict with overprotective local surfers.
Don’t Paddle Out In a Pack
I always paddled out alone and tried to choose the peak with the fewest people.
El Dedo was for whatever reason often almost empty early in the morning. I had as many waves as I wanted!
On the other hand, if you surf La Izquirda del Cartel on a good day, the chances of having a hard time with the locals here very high. Even if you do nothing wrong!
Be friendly and polite, wait your turn, don’t fight for your right over waves (it’s just waves after all). Respect that it is the way it is. Whether you like it or not.
Look For Waves Elsewhere
Sure, Tenerife has a big surfing community and just as many surf tourists. But there is always a less crowded wave somewhere.
Time Your Sessions Well
Everyone wants to surf in the morning and before sunset. During midday, the waves are usually way less crowded (except the beginner waves. They have surf schools almost all day long, though they usually don’t start until 9 am).
Midday is often not as good and has a bit of wind on it. But not as many people in the water.
Many of the local people work normal jobs and have to surf before and after work. This means fewer locals in the water during working hours.
Should I go to Tenerife or Fuerteventura, Lanzarote or Gran Canaria?
In my opinion, each of the Canary Islands is beautiful in their own right.
If you want to see something different, I recommend going to all the islands at last once. They are all incredible.
Tenerife is definitely the greenest of all of them. I like it a lot. But do I like it more than the others? I wouldn’t say so. Perhaps just as much, but in a different way.
What I like about all of the Canaries is, that they are small enough to drive around the whole island. You can thoroughly explore them in just a week or two.
Of course, Tenerife needs a bit more time than let’s say Lanzarote.
But two weeks is great to see most of it and to get to know the surfing in Tenerife. It’s for sure worth a trip!
Especially, if you want good weather while Europe is cold and grey. Especially if you don’t want to fly too far!
With direct flights from so many places all over Europe, it’s an easy and ideal getaway.
Overall, if you’re thinking about going surfing in Tenerife… go for it!
You’ll have a great time regardless of where you go.
And if you’re worried about the localism, don’t overthink it, there are enough waves for everyone!
But what do you think?
Are you planning a surf trip to Tenerife? Did you find this Tenerife surf guide helpful?
Let me know in the comments!
See you in the ocean…